Don't size up as baggy fit as Dakine say they are designed
You want a casual pair of shorts for singletrack rides and cafe stops
The Dakine Zella bike shorts are a tough short that look just as good off the bike as they do on it. There’s enough stretch for short rides and enough style to mean they suit the post-ride pub stop too but they aren’t as loose fitting as Dakine like to think.
These shorts, Dakine says, are designed for lapping bike parks and shuttling trails come rain or shine. They certainly are quite a rugged short and stand up to abuse well, the material uses isn’t that thick either so they don’t bunch up at the top of the thighs and aren’t restrictive to movement as other tougher shorts have been in my experience. They aren’t the longest or baggiest shorts though, I found them quite slim fitting on the tops of the thighs and found that the size small I wore came up a little short. I’m a dress size 8-10 and settled on testing a Small once I’d tried the Medium too, which was far too large on the waist.
The fabric used by Dakine has four way stretch with 6% Spandex used in the Polyester mix. This, combined with well placed seams, makes them super comfy to wear. Elsewhere there are front hand pockets and one zippered leg pockets for valuables (not big enough for my large phone though) and an elasticated loop in the left hand hip pocket to attach a lift pass or a key too, a nice feature on what are otherwise open pockets from which contents might fall. The material is also coated with a durable water repellent and water still beads off them now a couple of months after the test started.
The Dakine Zella shorts have a quite a casual, almost denim look about them, including belt loops and rear pockets too. They fasten with two metal poppers and a short zip with waist adjusters located on the inside of the waistband. These adjusters are well designed and feature a small buckle tucked into covered pockets. They lie flat against the skin and fabric and are imperceptible when wearing the shorts, a great design that works really well too!
I wore the Dakine Zella’s mostly for casual trail rides where I knew I was going to hit the coffee shop or the pub either en route or afterwards. Due to their short and rather slim fitting nature, I wouldn’t choose them for bike park laps but they are great for singletrack blasts with longer topped kneepads to dispel any ‘thigh gaps’. I’ve also used these for casual wear, they look great with non bike kit and at £65 they won’t break the bank either.
Previously Editor here at off-road.cc, Rachael is happiest on two wheels. Partial to a race or two Rachael also likes getting out into the hills with a big bunch of mates. In the past Rachael has written for publications such as, Enduro Mountain Bike Magazine, Mountain Biking UK, Bike Radar, New Zealand Mountain Biker and was also the online editor for Spoke magazine in New Zealand too. For as long as she's been riding, she has been equally happy getting stuck into a kit review as she is creating stories or doing the site admin. When she's not busy with all the above she's roasting coffee or coaching mountain biking in the Forest of Dean.